List Posts


All Harvest Hub Posts



Fruit & Veg Month Celebration

Think, Eat, Save    Fruit & Veg Month


Me Farms – a Local farm

Peats Ridge Money-for-Jam project

Food Manufacturers


Help in a small way at Christmas 2014 – Ivanhoe lunch & toys for the kids

Salvos Invanhoe

Industry News

Support Local Bee Producers?

Issues Discussed


Farmers – Local & Australian

Where Does My Food Come From?

Grima Brothers in Horsley Park



Paella – Bush tucker at it’s best


Lose weight with Grapefruit Juice



Bananas spotted and brown



Cherries new season


Ortanique Mandarins


Mango ripening – don’t judge a mango by its colour


Blood Oranges

Blood Orange Warm Salad  recipeBlood Oranges


How Green is my papaya?


Pears Beurre Bosc and Packham




Black Sapote – the chocolate pudding fruit




Super local broccoli


Savoy Cabbage

 Wombok Easy Cooking


–  White carrots


– Cauliflower by the moon


Chard (Silverbeet) Rainbow Chard from ME Farms

Cold night – roast vegetables


Sweet Banana Chillies




Seafood Packs




Royal Blue Potato Mash


Diakon Radish

White Kohlrahbi





Baby turnips… a cunning plan indeed!





Wombok Easy Cooking

Wombok around the clock – Eating Raw

Meal Packs

Seafood Packs


  1. Absolute Organic Non-Hydrogenated Extra Virgin Coconut Oil


Farm Recipes Week 1717

Farm Recipes Week 1717

Meals at $2.50 a serve.

If you wish to add meat to these recipes simply give them a quick grill or fry, chop up and put into the recipe at the end of cooking.

Red lentil and carrot stew

Baked Veg with tomato sauce & pumpkin seeds

Mushroom Salad

Chickpea curry

Quinoa with corn, capsicum, baby spinach and toasted chopped nuts

Red lentil and carrot stew


Red lentil and carrot stew
Recipe type: Stew
Serves: 2
  • 2 tbs oil
  • ⅓ red onion
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 4 diced carrots
  • 250gm red lentils, washed carefully and picked over for impurities
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 400 ml water, or stock. A stock cube will do if you’ve no homemade stock.
  • 4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbs dried basil
  • 100 ml milk (of your choice)
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Fry the onion and garlic until the onion has a translucent quality. Add carrots and stir as they cook. After 5 mins on a medium heat add all the other ingredients with the exception of the milk.
  2. Check frequently to make sure you don’t have to add water. At 350 ml you have a stew. If you add 600 ml of water you have a soup.
  3. Once the lentils are thoroughly mushy and cooked, add the milk to the soup. If you plan on keeping your leftovers for a few days, don’t add the milk until you heat your leftovers up. You can add warm milk to the cooked lentils and carrots.

Making your own tomato sauce

Cooking tomatoes are fully ripened on the vine so they develop maximum flavour, but they are soft – fine for cooking, but don’t try to cut one for your sandwich – it’ll be messy… If for some reason they are not ripe then pop them near apples or pears and within a couple of days they will be ready.

Start with 2 kg of roughly chopped cooking tomatoes. 

You’ll need a big saucepan with a heavy base:

Basically give them a good rinse, add a little water and 1 teaspoon of salt to your saucepan, add the roughly chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil.  Stir regularly.  If you like to make a thick sauce, leave the lid off so the liquid evaporates – but otherwise put the lid on.

Cook for an hour or so, then let it cool down for about 15 minutes before transferring to a food processor. 

Process in small batches, and then push the pulp through a coarse sieve or colander to catch any seeds.

You’re now ready to make tomato or minestrone soup, or your own version of Spaghetti Bolognese or add to recipes. You can freeze it in zip lock bags, in icecube trays or in takeaway containers.

Baked Veg with tomato sauce & pumpkin seeds


Baked Veg with tomato sauce & pumpkin seeds
Brown rice takes 45mins to steam and another 10 to rest. Put it on before you start cooking.
Recipe type: Baked Vegetables
Serves: 2 large serves or 4 small ones
  • 300g homemade tomato sauce
  • 200gms mushrooms,
  • 2 red capsicum
  • 5 small potatoes or 2 large
  • I sweet potato, peeled
  • 3 thinly sliced cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Fresh ground black pepper and a pinch of salt
  1. You’ll also need a large frying pan and a medium baking dish
  2. Preheat oven to 180 C.
  3. Wash & finely slice the sweet potato and the other potatoes first and then the mushrooms. Slice the capsicum into long thin strips discarding the seeds and core.
  4. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and fry your garlic first, then add the potatoes. Layer into your baking dish. In the rest of the oil fry the mushrooms until well browned and layer over the potatoes adding your pinch of salt and the pepper. Throw the peppers into your pan and then put them in as your top layer.
  5. Stir the oregano into the tomato sauce. The sauce goes over the top and it’s baked for 20 mins.
  6. This is good hot or cold.
  7. If you want to melt some cheese on top you can. 15 minutes into the baking time wearing oven gloves and making sure you’ve a clear heat resistant surface to place it on take the dish out and sprinkle 50-100 grams of grated cheese on top. Place it on the top shelf of your oven, use your griller and watch to see it doesn’t burn in the next five minutes.
  8. You could also sprinkle it with pumpkin seeds before serving. Pumpkin seeds will give you extra minerals and Vitamin E.
  9. Eat over brown rice (or quinoa, or pasta or cous cous). Leftovers are terrific on toast.

Mushroom Salad
Mushroom Salad
Recipe type: Meal Salad
Serves: 4
  • 200gms mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • Dressing:
  • 100 ml of olive oil
  • 50ml of vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Pepper, freshly ground
  • Salt to taste
  • coriander &/or parsley leaves, finely chopped.
  1. This is good over brown rice, hot pasta, or on toast. It’s also good on its own or with some fresh baby spinach.
  2. Soak the chickpeas 6-8 hours before you use them. Soak all the chickpeas as we’ll use them in a number of recipes including a curry, some flat bread and in hummus. If it’s a hot day soak them in a big bowl in the fridge. Once you’ve soaked them rinse them and place them in a saucepan with sufficient cold water to cook. Cook for 45mins until firm but edible. Cook for longer if you like them softer.

Chickpea curry

Chickpea curry
Recipe type: Meal curry
Serves: 4
  • 1-2 cups chickpeas, cooked
  • 2 sticks of the celery
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 carrots, sliced on an angle (they’re sweeter this way)
  • 5 tomatoes, all but 2 chopped, - you can keep the skins on if you don’t mind a little skin in your curry.
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 capsicum
  • 1 tbs ginger, grated
  • 1 lime, zest & juice
  • 1 green chilli, finely sliced – deseed for a less hot curry
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 50 ml water if it looks as if your vegetables are sticking
  • Cinnamon
  • Coriander, finely chopped
  • Coriander leaves for garnish
  1. Fry the sliced shallots together with the garlic and spices over a medium heat, add the ginger and chilli and coriander.
  2. Then add the finely sliced celery, carrots, diced potato, and eggplant stirring frequently
  3. Throw in the capsicum and tomato.
  4. Add the water so the vegetables don’t catch. Note that the vegetables will express their own delicious liquid. Lower the heat. Put the lid on – remove it to stir every few minutes.
  5. Toss in a cup of the cooked chickpeas. When you are ready to dish up taste and adjust seasonings as necessary and then garnish with coriander leaves.
  6. This is yum on rice, noodles, pasta, cous cous or toast.

Quinoa with corn, capsicum, baby spinach and toasted chopped nuts
Quinoa with corn, capsicum, baby spinach and toasted chopped nuts
This is a sweet dish and the lime juice is a necessary addition to counter the sweetness of fresh corn, capsicum and dried fruit.
Recipe type: 400g quinoa 1 clove of garlic, crushed 10-15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half 100g baby spinach 2 corn cobs of corn 1 line, juice & zest (Tip: rinse the lime under hot water for 30 seconds to extract even more juice. You could also microwave it for 10-15 seconds or hand roll the lime on the counter) 1 red capsicum, chopped into small pieces. ½ bunch parsley, finely chopped 40-50 grams of nuts (pistachios, pinenuts, cashew or plain fresh peanuts)
Cuisine: Meal
Serves: 4
  • 400gm quinoa
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 10-15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 100gm baby spinach
  • 2 corn cobs of corn
  • 1 line, juice & zest
  • (Tip: rinse the lime under hot water for 30 seconds to extract even more juice. You could also microwave it for 10-15 seconds or hand roll the lime on the counter)
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped into small pieces.
  • ½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 40-50gm of nuts (pistachios, pinenuts, cashew or plain fresh peanuts)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  1. If your using the quinoa remember to rinse it well in water or it will taste bitter. Use a fine sieve or your quinoa will wash down the drain. If you don’t have a fine sieve stretch clean pantyhose, or a clean open weave kitchen cloth like a Chux over a coarse sieve.
  2. To cook the quinoa
  3. Place the rinsed and drained quinoa into a small saucepan with a liter of cold water and boil.
  4. Turn to a simmer (small bubbles rather than big roiling bubbles) for 10 minutes.
  5. Drain and allow to cool.
  6. No quinoa? You can use any grain or pasta with this dish. Penne is good. To cook the pasta always fill the largest saucepan you have three quarters full with water, pop a lid on the pan and bring to the boil, and follow the directions on the packet. If you’ve only a smallish saucepan, don’t crowd the pan with pasta – cook a smaller amount. Set the timer on your phone or oven so that you don’t end up with soggy pasta.
  7. Place into a large bowl with the cooked corn (steamed over the boiling pasta water in a saucepan sieve until bright yellow). Run a knife down your corn cob to remove the kernels. Do this in your largest bowl or saucepan so you don’t lose any.
  8. Add the cherry tomatoes, the baby spinach, the chopped capsicum, 40-50 grams of the nuts (pistachios, pinenuts, cashew or plain fresh peanuts) and ½ bunch of finely chopped Continental parsley.
  9. To toast the nuts
  10. Put nuts in a large fry pan and heat. Shake the pan or use a wooden spoon to stir them around. Watch them carefully. When they begin to brown take them off the heat. When cool enough to handle you can put them on a large chopping board and chop them with a large knife or food process them for no more than a second at a time until they are a rough chopped consistency. Toasting will freshen the nuts: if they’re already fresh there’s no need to.
  11. In a bowl whisk the olive oil, lime juice, pepper together and throw over the pasta and veg mix or the pasta and quinoa mix. Add salt to taste.

Shallots versus spring onions

Shallots versus spring onions

In Australia we have different names for things. Let’s clarify the difference between shallots and spring onions.

Shallots vs spring onions


Shallots are long green stalks also known as scallion. White at bottom and green at top. Slim stalk can use all except roots.

Spring Onion

Spring onion have an onion white bulb at bottom followed by a green stalk usually use the onion bit because the top bit is dry and usually used to weave them together. This is milder than a normal onion as it is young. Great for salads.

Farm recipes Week 1716

Roast cauliflower and potato soup

Farm recipes Week 1716

       (approximately $2.50 a serve)

Harvest Hub has created meal options which will cost around $2.50 per serve.

All recipes are based on 2 serves, so if you are cooking for 4 (or want to freeze 2 serves), just double the quantities.

The meals offer plenty of variety, are easy to cook and most take 30-40 minutes to get onto the table.

If you have some favourite low-cost meals, feel free to share them with the rest of the Harvest Hub membership – in return for bragging rights!


Soup, croquettes, roulade, Salad, pizza









Roast cauliflower and potato soup

Quantities for 2 (approx. $2.50 per serve)

Roast cauliflower and potato soup
Farm recipes $2.50 per serve meals
Recipe type: Soup
  • ½ cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • 1 potato, peeled and roughly diced
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and roughly diced
  • 30ml plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 350ml chicken stock
  • 100ml milk (or if you like a richer soup replace with cream)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Few sprigs of flat leaf parsley
  1. Preheat oven to 210C.
  2. Place cauliflower, potato, onion and olive oil into a large roasting tray, toss together to coat with oil and place into the oven. Roast for 10 minutes, then add the garlic cloves.
  3. Roast until the vegetables have browned and the potatoes are tender, remove and place into the bowl of a food processor, add half of the chicken stock and process to a coarse puree.
  4. Pour the puree into a large saucepan, add the remainder of the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Add the milk or cream, season and bring back to a simmer. Then serve with a drizzle of oil, a sprinkle of parsley and serve with crusty bread.




Baked Jap pumpkin & Tuscan kale croquettes
For 2 people this entire meal costs $4.91 which is $2.46 per serve
Recipe type: Meal
Serves: 12
  • 1½ cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • Tuscan Kale, 3 leaves (50gms) sliced into strips into 3cm strips
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil plus more for greasing baking sheet
  • ⅛ cup toasted sesame seeds
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • Plus Green salad
  • Green oak
  • Cooking tomatoes
  • ½ Spanish onion
  • ¼ continental cucumber
  • Salad dressing
  1. Preheat oven 190C. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Cook onions for 3-4 minutes, or until translucent. Remove from heat.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Stir in pumpkin, egg, soy sauce, onions and Tuscan kale. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until a sticky dough forms. If the dough is too moist, add a bit more flour.
  4. On a clean, dry plate, combine the sesame seeds and the breadcrumb.. Mix well with fingers. Set aside.
  5. Use floured hands to form the dough into balls that are about 5cm in diameter. Roll each ball in the panko-sesame seed mixture, and place on the greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm with a salad.





Cheese roulade with sweet potato and carrot
Recipe type: Meal
Serves: 4
  • Filling:
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 25g butter
  • ¼ cup cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nutmeg to taste
  • Roulade Coating:
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 25g butter
  • ½ onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbs parsley or herb of choice finely chopped
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs made from stale bread
  • Salt and pepper
  • Roulade:
  • 25g butter
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ to ½ cup of grated tasty cheese
  • 1 tbs Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • ¼ tsp salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven 190°C.
  2. Chop peeled vegetables and steam until tender then puree.
  3. Mix in butter and cream. Season with salt/pepper and nutmeg.
  4. Coating:
  5. Cook onion and butter in a fypan until soft.
  6. Remove from pan to a bowl and mix with herbs, crumbs and season with salt/pepper. Let cool. Line the base of a Swiss roll tin with non-stick paper and scatter the onion and crumb coating mix over it.
  7. Roulade:
  8. Melt butter, add flour and fry in a pan for a minute. Add milk and stir until it comes to the boil. Remove and let it cool. Add cheeses and egg yolks, season well.
  9. Beat egg whites until stiff. Hint leave eggs out of fridge to warm up before whipping.
  10. Fold through, then spread evenly over the coating onion and crumb base – it is a thin layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  11. When cool place a presentation plate over it and turn upside down so the roulade drops onto the plate. Peel off base paper. Spread the creamed filling on top. Roll roulade from the long edge. Serve cold or warm with salad.



Green Oak, Pear and Walnut Salad
Cuisine: Meal
Serves: 4
  • 1½ tbs apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • ⅛ cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tbs honey
  • ½ tsp poppy seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
  • 5 cups rinsed and well-drained green oak lettuce, coarsely chopped
  • ⅓ cup walnut pieces (or coarsely chopped), toasted
  • 2 pears, peeled, cored, and cut into cubes
  1. Add vinegar, apple juice, canola oil, Dijon mustard, and honey to food processor or blender and pulse until well-combined. Stir in poppy seeds and add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Reserve ¼ cup of the dressing and set aside.
  2. Add green oak lettuce and walnuts to large bowl, drizzle the remaining dressing over the top, and toss to coat well. Divide the lettuce among 4 salad plates. Add pears to the large bowl and toss them with the reserved ¼ cup dressing. Spoon pears evenly over the four salads.




Cauliflower crust pizza with eggplant topping
Recipe type: Meal
  • 2 cups cauliflower, grated
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbs parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded - leave half a cup for topping.
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Pizza toppings
  • ¼ cup pizza (tomato) sauce
  • Roasted eggplant, capsicum, onion
  • Sprinkle rosemary, fresh
  1. Preheat grill.
  2. Thinly cut your vegetables and place them on baking paper on a tray.
  3. Grill for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown – watch don’t burn. Remove and set aside.
  4. Preheat oven on 220C.
  5. In a large frypan place some olive oil with chopped cauliflower florets. Stir for 10 minutes.



Youth make $2 a head meals with heaps left over

Dine Below the line

Youth make $2 a head meals with heaps left over

‘Dine Below The Line’ an initiative of Oaktree Foundation, a group of students concerned with fighting poverty in SE Asia. On the Macquarie Uni campus, they got together to accept a challenge to see if they could cook a robust meal for $2 a head. They won this challenge. Amazing – $2 meals

Harvest Hub donated the food and menus for them to cook:

The menu – see recipes below

Ratatouille with fettucine

Roasted pumpkin and baby spinach salad

They tell us:

“There was a total of 9 participants including representatives from Macq Uni Sustainability, Macq Uni Sustainability Squad (MUSS) and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. In the end we managed to raise $61.30 from this Dine Below The Line event!

We were all surprised at how much food we managed to cook under a budget! We also had great conversations about poverty, our attitudes to international development, Australia’s role in international development, and even about the great ways Harvest Hub serves communities!

We’d like to thank Anton & Jayne and all Harvest Hub members for your donation and support in this event. We’re always excited to get connected and to continue to work with other people and organisations that recognise the potential of young people (as well as people of all ages!) to make impactful change! ”

Recipe for Ratatouille

This version is a little more tomato-based than the usual recipe to provide enough liquid for the fettucine
Recipe type: $2 meal
Serves: 10
  • 3 brown onions, sliced
  • 800gms eggplant, cubed (not skinned)
  • 800gms green capsicum , seeded & cut
  • 80gms zucchini, sliced
  • 3kg cooking tomatoes, roughly cut
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt & pepper
  • Dried herbs (e.g. rosemary, thyme, oregano)
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • ½ bunch basil leaves
  • Water or stock as needed
  1. In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in the olive oil over low heat, stirring regularly, for 10 mins or until translucent.
  2. Add the eggplant, capsicum and zucchini and sauté for a further 10 mins, stirring regularly.
  3. Add the cooking tomatoes. garlic, seasoning and dried herbs, stir to mix the ingredients, and cook on medium heat until it bubbles. Reduce heat, add lid and slowly cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring every now and then.
  4. Check if the mixture has enough liquid, and add water or stock if needed.
  5. Cook for another 5-10 minutes or until cooked al dente (i.e. retain some texture - don’t let it go to mush).
  6. Before serving, shred the basil leaves and stir into the ratatouille.
  7. Serve with fettucine and a salad

Recipe for Fettucine
As per instructions on pack. Don’t over-cook, and to prevent it from sticking together in the serving bowl, either add some cooking liquid or olive oil. Roasted pumpkin salad
Recipe type: Pasta
Serves: 10
  • 3kg butternut pumpkin, skinned, seeded and roughly cut
  • 1 Spanish onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 500gms baby spinach leaves, washed and well-drained
  • Salt, pepper, vinegar & oil
  1. Pre-heat grill to High
  2. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin pieces with salt, pepper and olive oil. Spread on baking tray and place in oven, about 5-10 cm below the hot grill. The idea is to blacken part of the pumpkin without over-cooking.
  3. After 10 minutes, turn the pumpkin pieces and put back under the grill. From this point, watch carefully to not over-cook the pumpkin. Remember, they will continue to cook for several minutes after you take them out of the oven.
  4. Let the pumpkin cool down to lukewarm, and then mix with baby spinach leaves in a serving bowl.
  5. At the last minute, sprinkle with dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar (or serve separately). Alternatively, you can make a dressing of soy sauce, white vinegar, sugar and chilli.
  6. Bon appetite!


Do we value our food and those who grow it?

Do we value our farmers

Do we value our food and those who grow it?

The recent storm up north, Cyclone Debbie, has brought to the fore the question – Do we value our food and those who grow it – enough?

This was one of the responses, from a farmer who gave up farming 5 years ago because of poor returns:

“(…) The answer is people have to pay more for their food and allow food producers enough money so that they can rotate their land so as to rest it e.g. five acres of land producing a crop should have at least two acres of compatible land “resting” so the cost in that alone blows out. We need to allow for the cost of water as it is not something that can be just used at will. There are also many other problems that are swept under the carpet just like the recent floods – they have not been costed into the price of food!

As a food producer I have not seen a price rise in my crop for the last five years so have decided to retire – it has now become uneconomical to produce food for the normal market – even with me who produces for a top end high quality market it is no longer profitable!”

Vulnerable Farmers

Farmers are vulnerable to  weather events read more…

We need to flesh this out as there are 2 or 3 story lines that intertwine:

  1. High retail concentration has driven large-scale corporate/industrial farming, which tends to practice mono-culture, has high input costs (chemicals), often degrades soil, wastes water and has high rates of waste and spoilage.  Because of scale, they tend to rely on labour hire firms which have proven to employ farm workers on below-award wages and conditions
  2. This food production method doesn’t properly take into account the cost of soil degradation, water use, nitrogen wasted in run-off and the subsequent environmental damage this is causing to plant and marine life.  It is also not sustainable long-term, as more and more inputs are required to achieve the same level of fertilisation, pest and weed control

So on several levels, we are not paying enough for our food.  Many farmers are reporting little or no increase in farm gate prices of many farm commodities.

Household expenditure

This is also illustrated by the lower share of household expenditure that food makes up: in 1984, we spent nearly 20% of our total spend on food.  In 2009/10 (the last available period), this had dropped to 16.5%. This is indicative of the degree of commoditisation of food over the past few decades, which coincides with the growth of supermarket chains which now control 80% of the grocery market, and the wholesale disappearance of independent grocers and fruit shops.  This is only partially offset by growth in farmers markets.

How to make food production more resilient.

To make food production more resilient, it needs to be decentralised, grown by many smaller farms across many different regions using more holistic methods of weed and pest control (e.g. permaculture and polyculture). However, to attract more people to become small-scale farmers, we would need to expect to pay more to ensure farmers get a reasonable return on their investment and labour.

Harvest Hub Farm

Harvest Hub is putting its money where its mouth is: we are in the process of buying a run-down farm on the NSW mid-north coast, and over the coming years we’ll be re-developing this as a permaculture farm.  We’re also sourcing fresh produce from surrounding farms in the Wingham, Manning and Hastings Valleys and supplying this to Hubs across the Central Coast and Sydney Basin.  Yes, it’ll keep us busy – but we’re very excited about this new adventure!





Unshelled pistachios should be split open, and any that are not split should be discarded. The reddish skin should be removed before roasting. The method requires only two ingredients: raw, dried pistachio nuts and salt if desired.

  • For salted nuts, a brine should be prepared by stirring salt into as much water as required to submerge the nuts. The water should be saturated with as much salt as will dissolve into it. The dried, raw pistachio nuts should be dropped briefly into the brine solution.
  • Spread the nuts in a single layer onto a baking sheet.
  • Roast them in the oven at 200 Fahrenheit.
  • Check the nuts after 15 minutes – they should take about 20 minutes in total.
  • The nuts are done when they are fully dried but not overcooked.

Pistachios are a good source of iron, protein, vitamin 6, thiamine and dietary fiber. They are also a good source of unsaturated fats. One cup of shelled pistachios yields approximately 1/2 cup of shelled nuts

Origin: Western NSW

Pistachios roasted
Recipe type: Roast
  • Fresh Pistachios 250gms
  1. To prepare:
  2. • Remove the soft outer skin from the pistachios
  3. • Preheat oven to 120C
  4. • Add 60-80g of salt to 125ml of water (1/2 cup) in a deep saucepan and boil over high heat until all salt is dissolved
  5. • Add about 8 to 10 cups of pistachios and stir until all water has evaporated and salt is deposited on the nuts.
  6. Spread nuts on baking paper in the preheated oven and roast 1½ hours. Stir every 30 minutes. When done, put the baking paper with pistachios on a cooling rack to stop them from cooking.




Cooking tomatoes local

Cooking Tomatoes April 2017

Cooking tomatoes local

Late summer, the end of daylight saving, but PEAK for TOMATOES.

Tomatoes love nothing better than bask in full sun all summer, and longer if they can get away with it.  Provided they’ve had lots of fertiliser (chicken and duck manure, fish emulsion, seaweed) to give them flavour, sun will bring out the ripeness.

Alas, many commercial tomatoes are not ripened on the vine.  Instead, they are picked when green – and before they go onto the supermarket shelf, they are ripened in the coolroom using ethylene.  No wonder they taste like nothing, and last for about 3 days.  By contrast, tomatoes that have been ripened on the vine have a huge amount of flavour, and should last (out of the fridge) for 2 weeks.

Some tomatoes – usually near the peak of the season – are left on the vine until they are almost over-ripe, and these so called cooking tomatoes contain less liquid but loads more flavour.  They’re available from March to June, and are perrrfect for home-made pasta sauce, tomato soup, bruschetta and casseroles.

Unfortunately we seem to be wedded to canned tomatoes – and really, we just don’t get it:

  • More often than not, cans contain imported tomatoes
  • Imagine the energy – not to mention greenhouse gasses – used to manufacture the steel cans, process the tomatoes, and then transport them around the world!
  • Many – if not most – steel cans are lined with a plastic that contains BPA (Bisphenol A): this is a hormone disruptor that can seep into the food, and can have adverse health effects. Many plastic bottles and containers also use BPA. Although the research is far from conclusive, there seem to growing evidence of people with high levels of BPA running a greater risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and lower fertility. As with many things in life: prevention is easier than the cure.
  • Canned tomatoes are almost always more expensive than fresh tomatoes: a typical 440g can of Ardmona tomatoes costs $1.40.  That works out at $3.18/kg.  By contrast, our fresh cooking tomatoes cost $2.50/kg, or even $2 a kg if you buy 2kg.  That’s a saving of 37%.
  • But above all, fresh cooking tomatoes taste so much better than their canned cousins.
  • Read more on imported canned tomatoes 

So there you have it: better tasting, cheaper and healthier.  You can find cooking tomatoes under Veature Veg. See recipes Authentic Gnocchi tomato sauce;Basic Gnocchi;Tomato Hummus Dip

Indian Spaghetti Bolognaise

Homemade Spanish tomato sauce


Indian Spaghetti Bolognaise

Indian spaghetti bolognaise
Recipe type: Sauce
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
  • 3 garlic clove, chopped
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 7 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 zucchinis, grated
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 10g mixed dried Italian herbs
  • Olive oil
  • OPTIONAL: 1 kg premium mince, pre-cooked
  1. Heat oil in frypan over a medium heat then add the onions and cook until golden brown. Add the garlic and ginger with one tbsp water and cook. Then add spices and cook then stir in the tomatoes. Cook 3 minutes.
  2. Add mince and/or the zucchini, carrots, herbs. Cover and cook 10 minutes.

Homemade Spanish tomato sauce
Homemade Spanish tomato sauce
Recipe type: Sauce
  • 500gm tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 Lemon, juice
  • 1litre vegetable stock
  • A bunch of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbs fresh parsley
  • 3 tbs concentrate tomato puree
  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Fry off your onion in the olive oil on a medium heat until soft. Reduce the heat and add the garlic. Cook for a further five minutes stirring. Add the chopped tomatoes to the mix. Add them to the mixture. Add the Rest of the ingredients and cook on a medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take out the bay leaves and discard. Whizz the tomato sauce in a food processor or blender until it is fairly smooth.



Hidden Valley Honey

Hidden Valley Honey

Hidden Valley Honey, Wherrol Flat, NSW

Organic, no sprays. Raw Bush Honey farmed at Wherrol Flat, NSW

Introducing raw, unpasteurised bush honey from bees that feed on native eucalypts, blue and grey gums, tallowwood and yellow box.  The honey is less sweet than commercially available honey, but has a real depth of flavour and a beautiful floral bush bouquet. You can find their honey in 450g jars and 1Kg tubs under Feature Fruits and in the Honey and Jam section.

Hidden Valley Farm in Wherrol Flat is run by Shane and Brooke Hulands.  Although Shane had experience working on the family farm, he and Brooke only started farming 3 years ago.  They’re running cattle, pigs and about 500 hens, and collect bush honey from about 50 hives. Both are saying that they haven’t worked as hard as they are now, but loving every minute of it.

The Wherrol Flat farm is 475 acres and is mostly timber.  All their animals are running free range, using holistic management and low stress stock handling principles.

On their farm the cows eat down the long grass, and are moved on to another paddock. They are followed by chooks who live in the paddocks in mobile caravans. One hectare at a time is sectioned off with electric netting, and once the area is fertilised the caravan is moved on.

They say they’ve seen the soil improving, holding moisture better. They’ve also noticed the pastures change from bracken fern and Parramatta grass to having a significant increase in plant diversity, including a return of many native pasture species.

“For us it’s about seeing the land comfortable. If we see that we know the soil will be good and our animals healthy, creating a future for our children” says Shane. “We are doing what feels right and it seems to be working.”

“We’re redoing internal fencing so we have better control of our paddocks and letting the stock do the work for us.

“We don’t need to mulch. The cows tread in the older grass to build the soil carbon, so we retain moisture in our paddocks.”

The Hulands moved up from Sydney for family health reasons to raise their young family. Shane had previously worked on a family farm. Brooke is city born and bred, but would never go back now. She says “I’ve never worked so hard in my life but I’m loving every minute of it, and it’s fantastic seeing the kids getting involved.”

“It’s not a job, it’s a passion” adds Shane.

Shane and Brooke sell pastured free range eggs at the Wingham Farmers markets and some retail outlets. They are in the process of setting up paddock to plate pastured beef and pork.

Prickly Pear

Prickly pear

Prickly Pear

The Story of the Prickly Pear

Prickly pears grow on cactus plants.  They were imported into Australia from Mexico in the early 1900’s, mainly to establish a cochineal (or: red dye) industry. The red dye was used to give the English soldiers’ long coats its characteristic red colour. Prickly pear plants cochineal insects that can be harvested for the red dye they develop from eating prickly pear berries.  As with many of these hare-brained schemes, the project was an abject failure: not only did no such red dye industry get off the ground, the plant quickly infested 25 million hectares of QLD and NSW – before someone thought of importing a moth called Cactoblastis cactorum from South America, whose larvae eat prickly pear.  It was introduced in 1925 and almost wiped out the prickly pear population.

Remnants remained, especially around Sydney – and they produce beautifully-tasting fruit that’s rich in protein, potassium and calcium.  Both the fruit and cactus pads were used by the ancient Aztecs as a medicinal food to aid in respiratory complaints, treat cuts and bruises, cure diarrhea and aid digestion, and for use as a skin tonic and moisturiser.  It also contains high concentrations of antioxidants. But above all, they have an amazing flavour!

BUT they need to be handled with care.  They’re not called Prickly Pear for nothing: the skin contains very fine hairs that will attach to your skin and become incredibly itchy.

Handle the fruit with washing-up gloves. To remove hairs try these methods:
1. stab with a fork and scrub with an old toothbrush OR
2. use a skewer to hold it and burn hairs off over stove or grill. OR
3. rub the fruit under running water – and then peel the pear using a potato peeler.

Great introduction from local farmer – VIDEO

Health Benefits are amazing.They are high in fibre so hydrate when eating and eat in moderation. It is helpful in lowering cholesterol levels, decrease the risk of diabetes and boost the immune system. It tastes a cross between watermelon and melon.

Eat by cutting in half and scoop out flesh.

2 Prickly pear
1 -2 bananas
2 cups of milk or soy
2 tbs Greek Yoghurt
Twist of lime juice
Honey to taste

Peel then cut in half. Place in sieve with a bowl underneath. Then push through sieve with a fork. Collect juice. Put into a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend.


The Maltese scoop the fruit out and soak it in vodka – 

Prickly pear Jam:

Mango – Honey Gold

Mango – Honey Gold

This week grown in Mid-North Coast.

These are the last of the mangoes for the season in February.

Try some easy to do recipes.

Easy version of Mango Yoghurt Icecream.

  1. Cut mango into squares, into a container and freeze.
  2. Using a Nutri Bullet or high powered mixer.
  3. Put in frozen mango, 1 tbsp Greek Yoghurt, squeeze half lime juice.
  4. Mix. Yum.

Mango Yoghurt Ice – without ice cream maker  

Mango and Chicken San Choy Bau

Jumping Barbecued Mangoes


Mango Yoghurt Ice – without ice cream maker  

Mango Yoghurt Ice – without ice cream maker
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 1 ½ tbs honey
  • 1 ½ tbs white sugar
  • 10g unsalted butter
  • 1 cup low-fat natural yoghurt
  • ½ cup cream
  • ½ cup mango pureed
  • ½ cup mango diced
  1. Place honey, sugar and butter in small pan. Stir over low heat. Use a wooden spoon.
  2. When sugar dissolved in butter remove from heat and cool.
  3. Place the yoghurt, cream, mango puree and cool honey mixture in medium mixing bowl. Mix.
  4. Pour mixture into 1 litre freezer proof container.
  5. Freeze without cover for 2 hours.
  6. Take out of freezer and with fork turn ice cream from edge to centre. Add diced mango and mix. Cover and return to freezer for 6 hours.
  7. Serve.
  8. Hint: Replace mango with pawpaw, berries. Add some crunch by adding roasted ground hazlenuts.

Mango and Chicken San Choy Bau
Mango and Chicken San Choy Bau
Recipe type: Asian Main
  • 2 ripe juicy mangoes, diced
  • 1 Cos lettuce washed and separated
  • 2 poached chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1 red capsicum, sliced
  • ½ cup coriander, chopped
  • For the Dressing:
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 2 tbs sweet chilli sauce
  1. Arrange the lettuce in a pile on a serving platter. Combine the chicken, mango, capsicum and coriander and set aside.Combine the dressing ingredients and mix through the chicken and mango salad. Pile beside the lettuce leaves. To serve, fill a lettuce leaf with some of the chicken and mango salad then roll up and eat!
  2. Add 1 large handful of bean sprouts and ¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts to the salad.

Jumping Barbecued Mangoes
Jumping Barbecued Mangoes
Recipe type: Side Dish
  • 2 large Mangoes
  • 3 tbs orange juice
  • 3 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp red chilli, diced finely
  • 1 tbs of sour cream
  • lime or lemon zest (grated skin)
  1. Mix the honey, orange juice and chilli
  2. Pour this marinade into a wide shallow glass dish
  3. Slice the large cheeks from each Mango.
  4. Score each portion deeply into the flesh in a cross hatch pattern. Do not turn inside out at this stage.
  5. Place each cheek flesh side down into the marinade and leave 15 mins.
  6. Preheat BBQ grill on high.
  7. Place the cheeks flesh side down on the grill for 3-4 minutes until the marinade caramelizes.
  8. Turn each cheek inside out (pushing from the skin side), and place flesh side up on a serving plate, one half per person.
  9. Serve with cream, and a sprinkle of lime or lemon zest!


Dining not Mining

Dining not Mining

Lock The Gare


Previously we have written about of our speaking at Lock The Gate meeting in Lane Cove about ‘Dining not Mining’.

Biodiversity is essential for our farmers to grow & maintain their crops. So too is giving them clean water, air and land that is safe to grow on.

This is a newspaper article from the ‘Dining Not Mining’ forum we spoke at.

We see, first hand, the devastating toll mining is having on our growing/farmer communities resulting in great benefit for a small few. No matter what your stand on mining please view this summary video of the achievements in 2016 of Lock The Gate – a moment in history – a change perhaps in the way we think.

Lock the Gate video 2016 – Thankyou for your achievements in making change

37.3% of Australia is covered by coal and gas licences and applications. Support Lock the Gate and purchase a calendar. It shows before and after mining shots – what a great way to educate the children and to encourage discussion and passion about our changing environment, weather and what each individual can do to make a change in how they make purchasing choices. It’s time to think deeply and to act openly.

Purchase a Lock the Gate Calendar

Making decisions about how and what we purchase can affect how our environment changes. So we want a hot or cool world? Let’s move to renewable energy quickly so we can leave a better world for our children.


Sweet Banana Chillies

Sweet Banana Chillies

Sweet Banana Chillies fb

The riper they are pale yellow green turning orangey red they become sweeter.

They are from the species Capsicum annuum  but a different variety to Hungarian Peppers which are hot. These are absolute sun lovers and take about 75 days the plant growing to about 30 to 60cm high. So that is what it looks like.

How hot are they?

On the chilli heat scale, Scoville Heat Unit Scale. Here is a visual representation of this See what the scale looks like.

What recipes?

So these banana chillies are great for pizza and salads. Pickled and stuffed – so there you have it. The Antipasto. Then there is more – make into relish and salsas.

How to Store:

These ripen on the vine. Store unwashed (or washed and dried) peppers. Put into a container lined with paper towel underneath and lightly one on top (this tops the water that condensers under the lid spoiling the pepper, pop on lid and open one corner to let some air in.  They don’t like moisture but also don’t want to be in the open and dry out.

When vegetables and fruit are freshly picked and not been through a storage system they are still be breathing when delivered. So this means they need different storage to cold storage produce – they will last longer if you consider their oxygen and carbon dioxide interchange. More about How Vegetables breathe and storage


In these recipes we talk about Smoke Point of the oil. Read more on Smoke Point.

Grilled Banana Chillies

Sweet Banana Chutney

Curry Banana Chilli


Grilled Banana Chillies

Sweet Banana Chillies
Recipe type: Chillies
  • 500gms (3 to 4) sweet banana chillies
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil (high burn point oil also sunflower oil) See more Smoke Point ()
  • Splash Balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup of white or red wine vinegar (this brings out the flavour)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • sea salt & ground pepper
  1. In a small jug, put the oil and vinegar. Add garlic.
  2. Wash/ dry the banana peppers.
  3. Turn on grill and prepare a tray  ie aluminium foil.
  4. Place the peppers the a grill (skin-side up) grill until the skin  blister and blacken then take tray off grill. Place foil over them and let rest a few minutes. Leave skin on if you like the skin if not, peel them.
  5. Baste peppers with the dressing and then salt/pepper. Garnish with coriander or basil.  Serve.

Sweet Banana Chutney
Sweet Banana Chutney
  • 3 - 4 banana chillies
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • 1 -2 garlic, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  1. Grill banana chillies (see recipe) When chillies ready peel.
  2. In a fry pan put in olive oil and fry shallots, garlic and tomato.
  3. In a mortar bowl put all ingredients and mix.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
  5. Add lime juice, fish sauce and sugar slowly to taste. Serve with rice or over chicken or fish.


Curry Banana Chilli –  a Southern India dish

Curry Banana Chilli
  • 2-3 Banana Chillies, scape skin and dice
  • ½ cup Fresh coconut, greated
  • 1 tsp black pepper, ground
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds, ground
  • 1 Sweet potato, big chunks
  • 3 curry leaves
  • ½ cup water
  1. In a bowl put water and immerse the chillies. Let sit for 20 minutes. Keep immersed in water till required.
  2. In a mortar grind coconut, pepper and salt to a smooth paste.
  3. In a fry pan put oil add ground mustard seeds, curry leaves and then add chopped sweet potato.
  4. Fry for 2 minutes and then add ground paste we have made and1/2 cup of water.
  5. Put on lid and simmer until curry is dry. Stir occasionally. Serve with rice or Roti (Try Lebanese bread).







Purple Basil

Purple Basil

Off to a running start with Purple Basil grown by the Grima Brothers in Horsley Park.

This Basil is so colourful and great in a slaw: carrots, basil, garlic, snowpeas, lettuce – julianne it all. Use this is stir-fry and salads also.

basil-purpleSo what to put on top that is great for your Liver, gall bladder and skin? What’s that? Yep, great for the ‘hidden from view’.
Make Coconut Oil Lime dressing. In a bowl put coconut oil, lime juice, rice vinegar, and salt. Add lime zest to dress salad. If you want to sweeten it use honey.


How to store:

Get a glass of water then cut stems and place in water like a fresh flowers. Remove any leaves below the water line. Pop a plastic bag over it to keep some humidity in it.

Change water every few days. Don’t put this herb in the refrigerator.


Watermelon Fundraiser

Watermelon Fundraiser

Can you help?   See Video


or on Facebook


A Watermelon Glut.

We can help a Hunger relief agency and farmers by purchasing their watermelon this week.

Buy an extra for school or a friend.

50 cents in every $1 will go back to the Hunger relief agency.

Background: The one thing that has bucked the current trend of price increases due to the floods and heavy rains across South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and Central NSW is watermelon, due to an overlap of NT and QLD growing seasons.

This is causing a few headaches for farmers, with falling prices and a glut of fruit. Bear in mind, this is coming hard on the heels of the rockmelon salmonella outbreak in August (not Harvest Hub growers) which resulted in plummeting demand for rockmelons. So many melon growers are seeing their incomes drop by more than half.

So when one of the food relief agencies called us to help shift 50 tonnes of excess watermelon, we didn’t hesitate. We delivered nearly 1 ton to the Salvo’s in Ivanhoe for distribution, and hope to sell a few more to our members – with 50c in every dollar donated back to the relief agency and affected farmers.